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DID YOU READ

The Top 10 Kidnapping Scenes in Movies (with video)

Liam Neeson in Taken

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You’d think movie kidnappers would’ve caught on by now that movie kidnappings never, ever go according to plan; in fact, if you want to experience complete and total disaster, then by all means go kidnap somebody. Here are some kidnapping scenes that start a domino effect of cinematic chaos.


“Bananas” (1971)

One of Woody Allen’s silliest — and laugh-out-loud funniest — comedies, “Bananas” stars the writer-director himself as Fielding Mellish (one of the most character names of all time), a neurotic New Yorker (natch) whose attempts to impress a cute activist (Louise Lasser) end up leading him to the fictional South American country of San Marcos, where he gets involved with a group of revolutionaries. There’s lots of crazy (and oh so ’70s) goings-on in “Bananas,” including a truly bizarre courtroom sequence featuring a middle-aged African American woman who believes she’s J. Edgar Hoover, but one of the best sight gags is this bit of physical comedy in which the chaotic struggle during an attempted person-snatching causes Woody to inject knock-out drugs to everyone involved — including his co-conspirators. It’s the kind of situation that Lt. Frank Drebin of Police Squad! and The Naked Gun might’ve found himself in, once upon a time.


“Fargo” (1996)

The title of the Coen Brothers’ bittersweet love letter to their home state of Minnesota actually refers to a town in the neighboring state of North Dakota, where struggling car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) meets with bumbling criminals Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) to discuss the kidnapping of Jerry’s wife — a scheme bound for disaster as it’s wrought with contradictions and complications from the start as the kidnappers insist their meeting was supposed to start an hour before Jerry’s arrival. The fact that these two clowns actually succeed in snatching poor Mrs. Lundegaard (in broad daylight and from her own house, in fact) is pretty remarkable, ’cause that’s pretty much the only thing that ends up being checked off from the list of How It’s All Supposed to Go.


“Labyrinth” (1986)

Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s follow-up to the still-astonishing “The Dark Crystal” hasn’t aged nearly as well as its now-classic predecessor, but it’s still quite the enjoyable nostalgia piece; you just can’t help but crack a whimsical smile whenever you think of the first time you noticed that rather prominent bulge coming from the nether regions of David Bowie’s Goblin King costume. Surely, “Labyrinth” still makes for a fine fairy tale, with young Sarah (Jennifer Connelly, mega-hot even before she was old enough for that to be mentioned) wishing that the Goblins would come and take her meddlesome baby brother away; the scene where she says just the right words for this to actually happen makes for one of the scariest moments in the film, thanks to a rather robust thunderstorm and the excitable Greek Chorus commentary coming from the Goblins themselves as they huddle together in some sort of Hensonian limbo state. Shudder!


“Man on Fire” (2004)

The second of what would end up being many collaborations between Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott (and the first since 1995’s “Crimson Tide”), “Man on Fire” features Denzel as a former CIA operative saved from alcoholic despair and self-loathing by becoming the bodyguard of a young American girl (Dakota Fanning) in Mexico City; when the little tyke is kidnapped, he embarks on the kind of “roaring rampage of revenge” that would make even Liam Neeson blush as he stabs, shoots and blows up everyone even vaguely involved with the snatching of his ward. The scene where Dakota is kidnapped makes for one of the most harrowing moments in the film, cranked up to panic mode all the more by the hyper-aggressive visual style in which Tony Scott loves to indulge.


“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Tim Burton’s much-celebrated 1993 stop-motion double-holiday classic might now look a little, well, quaint compared to some of the more contemporary films that feature the animation technique (including Burton’s own “Corpse Bride”), but “A Nightmare Before Christmas” is still a triumph of character and storytelling; indeed, Jack Skellington might now very well be as popular a Christmas figure as ol’ Saint Nick himself. Speaking of Saint Nick (or “Sandy Claws,” as he’s mistakably referred to for the first two acts of this dark fable), he’s been targeted for kidnapping by Jack as he attempts to merge both Halloween and Christmas, a task which the Pumpkin King has entrusted to Halloween Town’s trio of troublemakers, Lock, Shock and Barrel. This scene features the ghoulish whippersnappers psyching themselves up to snatch the jolly old elf, complete with rather macabre lyrics that help to paint a rather grim Christmas portrait.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…